Five Gross Things You Might Not Know About Babies and Childbirth

If you’ve only ever seen a newborn on TV, then you’ve never really seen a newborn.  Think about it–they usually can’t really plan filming around whatever pregnant lady may or may not be in the area and ready to pop.  Most TV “newborns” are usually weeks–or even months–old.

But if you never noticed that before, then you definitely didn’t know these:

1.  In movies, umbilical cords are quickly and cleanly clipped by cute little scissors that look like they were meant for fingernails.  In real life, umbilical cords are pretty tough.  One of my kids had one so rubbery, it was like an industrial-strength garden hose.  I had to saw away at that sucker for a minute.

2.  Ever wonder what the other half of that umbilical cord is attached to?  We all know that it connects the baby and mommy, and that it gets cut after birth, but where exactly does that thing end?  It ends in the placenta, which is a pulpy sac of gooey tissue that clings to the uterine wall; it reminds me of a gallon-sized bag of purple meat.  Shortly after birth, the placenta detaches and gets passed out the “birth canal” (isn’t that a weird euphemism?), effectively disposing of the rest of the umbilical cord.

I saw my fair share of scary movies when I was young, but I’ve never seen anything half as disgusting as a human placenta.  It’s literally a pulsating lump of steaming human insides.  Even worse?  Some cultures eat it.

3.  And what about the part of the umbilical cord left attached to the baby?  The little stump left over on new baby’s tummy is left there to rot, where it quickly turns black and must be carefully disinfected when changing diapers.  It naturally falls off after a week or two, leaving the belly button.

4.  Newborns don’t poop like the rest of us.  For the first little while, a new baby’s dirty diapers will be filled with this thick, dark black glop that reminds me of melted tar.  Once their digestive system starts getting milk in it, the poop slowly starts looking more human.

5.  But enough about the baby.  Here’s something about delivery that rarely gets advertised to young women: after having a baby, chances are better than not that you will need stitches.  You know where.

2 comments on “Five Gross Things You Might Not Know About Babies and Childbirth

  1. he he…I still have both of my kids dryed-up umbilical cords (they are 12 and 8). Can you say wedding gift?

    Also, my son was big at birth (almost 11 lbs.). My wifes placenta was almost 8 lbs. They kept it with us in the recovery room in a big ol’ plastic tub….(I can see it in my minds eye…like it was yesterday…creepy!!)

    They stuff they NEVER tell you before you get married….wow!

  2. I was actually taught all of that before I got married. Still have five kids and was present in each birth, and yes, cutting the rubbery umbilical cords.

    They could give you a good cutting-board and a meat cleaver (in the vein of Meaning of Life). That ought to dispel the ennui that the personnel sometimes suffer. ;)

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